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Resource Dynamics and Sustainable Utilization


About this course

This course deals with the extraction of resources from natural ecosystems. Resource use includes the exploitation of timber, the collection of fruits and resin, the extraction of wood for biomass production, and hunting of wildlife. Ideally such resources are exploited in a sustainable way, but how should that be defined? And how is sustainable resource use quantified? These and other questions will be investigated. You will get hands-on experience in quantifying effects of resource utilization on future resource availability and ecosystem characteristics.
In this course we will consider the following topics:

  1. Status of resources exploited from natural ecosystems worldwide: timber, non-timber, wildlife
  2. Exploitation as a conservation strategy
  3. Quantification of availability of timber and wildlife as resources
  4. Analysis of the natural dynamics of populations or ecosystems providing resources
  5. Effects of exploitation on future resource availability

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course, students are expected to be able to:

  • explain the status of natural resource use and the concept of exploitation in conservation;
  • analyse the availability, variability and value of natural resources using inventory data;
  • apply simple modelling tools to evaluate resource dynamics, effects of resource use and future resource availability;
  • evaluate the sustainability of a resource use system and provide management advice;
  • reflect on the concept of sustainability and the role of science and scientists in evaluating this.

Teaching method and examination

Assessment strategy
Students will be evaluated in three ways:

  • individual assignment: individual report on one of the papers read and discussed (10%);
  • group assignment: written report and oral presentation of case study (50%);
  • written examination: this is a computer examination, covering all study materials (40%);
    Note: all components need to be completed with a minimum mark of 5.50.

Required prior knowledge

Mandatory Knowledge:
ZSS06200 Fieldwork Safety
Assumed Knowledge:
Bachelor in Biology, Forest and Nature Conservation, Plant Science or similar.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    28 oktober 2024

    • Ends
      20 december 2024
    • Term *
      Period 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Enrolment starts in 46 days
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University